Caribbean Eyes Airbnb Challenge

The traditional Caribbean resort model is expense and overtaxed. In context, that is no surprise. Tourists do not vote; taxes are seldom a consideration when booking a holiday destination. And while superb beaches may compensate for the surprise-on-arrival, tourists are now looking beyond standard amenities and using peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb for a more favorable accommodation and travel experience. Growing inroads of these platforms—there are many with niche segments—begs a range of issues, not unlike those seen elsewhere around the world. The difference in the Caribbean, however, is the potential scope of hospitality-sector undercutting, if not fiscal debasement. Tourism-development authorities may need to be less concerned about Cuba and more focused on Airbnb.

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Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.